Morgan County Commission briefs

May 17, 2009

 Community service program to be reviewed by commission

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Morgan County Sheriff Vince Shambaugh told county commissioners at Thursday's meeting that his department "does not have the bodies" to make the community service program work for the county.

He said his weekend deputy handles community calls, along with the community service detail.  

"My weekend deputy is overloaded," Shambaugh said. "To be honest, I don't want the community service program anymore."  

Shambaugh said he was aware that Morgan County Magistrate Kermit Ambrose and Commissioner Stacy A. Dugan want more people on it.  

Dugan said community service should be used whenever possible to reduce jail costs at Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg, W.Va. 

Danielle Robertson, Morgan County probation officer, said one of the problems is that only a couple of entities accept community service workers and that most businesses do not want to take away any time from their part-time employees.  


She said Berkeley County has a good community service program.

Morgan County Circuit Court Bailiff Joe Butterworth said he might be interested in supervising the program. 

"If we are paying $40-plus a day in Eastern Regional Jail, it might be better for them to be utilized here," he said.

He said the community service workers must have a "successful participation, and if it's not successful, you go to jail." 

"If it saves the county money, I'm interested," Butterworth said. 

Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim said "you will see the ERJ bill reduced if someone is in control."

Commission President Brenda J. Hutchinson said the commission will consider the matter.


Security alarm ordinance might be forthcoming

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Sheriff Vince Shambaugh told the Morgan County Commission Thursday that his department answered 319 nuisance alarm calls last year, some of which occurred up to 14 times at one location.

Shambaugh said he researched Tucker County's (W.Va.) alarm ordinance, which allows the first two alarm calls at no charge. A charge of $100 is enforced for the third call, $200 for the fourth and $500 for the fifth call and thereafter in a 12-month period. 

Shambaugh suggested that Morgan County charge a $25 fee to register all alarms. The proceeds could be split between other service entities such as the fire departments and EMS, he said. 

"This is years overdue," said Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim. 

Commission President Brenda J. Hutchinson said the commission will go forward with a draft ordinance, which will be discussed at a future meeting.


Noise ordinance to be reviewed by commission

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Resident Tom Geiermann asked the Morgan County Commission on Thursday what residents should do if noise is excessive during the day.   

He had a problem over Mother's Day weekend and when he called the state police, the trooper told him that the noise ordinance was not in effect, but many complaints are made during the day.

Commission President Brenda J. Hutchinson said the county's noise ordinance was originally a "barking dog ordinance," which was in effect from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

"It was a compromise," Hutchinson said. 

Resident Dawn White said "the police won't come during the day. In the meantime, we have miserable weekends."

Morgan County Sheriff Vince Shambaugh said in order to respond to daytime calls, the ordinance would need to be amended. 

Hutchinson said the noise ordinance will be placed on the commission agenda as soon as possible.

-- Trish Rudder

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